Flat-article separating apparatus for an automatic mail handling system
and the like
Sheet stacking and interleaving apparatus
Automatic bank note depositing machine
Currency dispensing apparatus
Secondary detection system for security validation
Protective device for dispensing machines and the like having openings
Optically coded document and method of making same
ApplicationNo. 11270363 filed on 11/08/2005
US Classes:235/379 Banking systems
ExaminersPrimary: Frech, Karl D.
Attorney, Agent or Firm
Foreign Patent References
International ClassG07F 19/00
This invention relates to automated banking machines. Specifically, the exemplary form of this invention relates to an automated banking machine which delivers and receives various types of sheet materials.
Automated banking machines are known in the prior art. A common type of automated banking machine is an automated teller machine (ATM). ATMs may be used by individuals to receive cash from their accounts, to pay bills, to transfer cash betweenaccounts, and to make deposits. Certain ATMs also enable customers to deposit checks, money orders, travelers checks, or other instruments. For purposes of this disclosure an automated banking machine or ATM shall be deemed to encompass any device orsystem that carries out transactions including transfers of value.
DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION
It is an object of an exemplary embodiment to provide an automated banking machine.
It is a further object of an exemplary embodiment to provide an automated banking machine which has a simpler customer interface.
It is a further object of an exemplary embodiment to provide an automated banking machine which has a single opening for receiving and providing various types of sheets and documents.
It is a further object of an exemplary embodiment to provide an automated banking machine which performs a plurality of banking transaction functions and which has a compact physical size.
It is a further object of an exemplary embodiment to provide an automated banking machine that may be more readily configured to provide different banking functions.
It is a further object of an exemplary embodiment to provide an automated banking machine that is economical to manufacture and operate.
It is a further object of an exemplary embodiment to provide an automated banking machine that accepts and delivers various types of documents.
Further objects of exemplary embodiments will be made apparent in the following Best Modes for Carrying Out Invention and the appended claims.
The foregoing objects are accomplished in an exemplary embodiment by an automated banking machine having a transport which moves sheets or stacks of sheets along a first transport path. The first transport path extends from a user accessibleopening on an interface of the machine. The machine also includes an internal second transport path for transporting sheets. The second transport path meets the first transport path at an intersection. A sheet directing apparatus is positionedadjacent to the intersection. The machine further includes at least one sheet dispensing device and at least one sheet accepting device for dispensing and receiving sheets, respectively. The sheet dispensing and receiving devices are in operativeconnection with either the first or second transport paths.
In operation of the exemplary machine a stack of sheets which may include various types of documents is received from a user is moved from the opening along the first transport path. As the stack passes the intersection the sheet directingapparatus is selectively operative to separate a sheet from the stack and direct the sheet into the second transport path. Once in the second transport path the separated sheet may be handled individually for processing or storage in the machine. Passing the stack through the intersection enables selectively removing sheets from the stack in response to operation of the sheet directing apparatus.
Sheets dispensed or otherwise held in the exemplary machine are enabled to be assembled into a stack by moving a sheet in the first transport path. A sheet in the second transport path is moved to the intersection in coordinated relation withthe first sheet. The first and second sheets engage in aligned relation and form a stack in the first transport path as the sheets move through the intersection. Additional sheets are selectively added to the stack as the stack is thereafter againmoved through the intersection while successive sheets are brought to the intersection through the second transport path. Various types of sheets are selectively assembled into the stack in the operation of the machine. Control circuitry operates thecomponents of the machine to assemble the stack. Once the stack is assembled, it is delivered to the user by passing it along the first transport path to the user opening.
In exemplary embodiments data may be acquired and stored which is usable to determine the individual users who have provided and/or received particular sheets from the machine. This may enable the machine to determine the source or dispositionof suspect notes for example. Alternatively or in addition, exemplary embodiments may limit the dispense of documents such as checks, money orders or cash from the machine to particular individuals to reduce the risk of money laundering or other illegalor fraudulent activity. In some exemplary embodiments the automated banking machine may accept deposits from a user which consist of both notes and checks. In such exemplary embodiments the machine operates to assure that the user's account is one towhich deposits may be immediately posted before accepting such items for deposit and upon such a determination links all the deposited items provided by the user in the particular transaction session to assure that the items can be traced to the user. Other exemplary embodiments may include other or additional features.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a front plan view of an exemplary automated banking machine.
FIG. 2 is a left side view of the automated banking machine shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a schematic cross sectional view of the automated banking machine shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 4 is a side schematic view of a first transport path and a second transport path in the automated banking machine.
FIG. 5 is a transverse cross sectional view of a transport used in the automated banking machine.
FIG. 6 is a schematic side view of a sheet moving from the second transport path to the first transport path through an intersection.
FIG. 7 is a view similar to FIG. 6 with the sheet moved into the first transport path from the intersection.
FIG. 8 is a schematic view similar to FIG. 7 with the sheet moving in an opposed direction through the intersection.
FIG. 9 is a schematic view similar to FIG. 8 with the sheet held in a holding device.
FIG. 10 is a view similar to FIG. 9 with the sheet moving in the intersection and engaging a second sheet being delivered through the second transport path, the second sheet engaging in aligned relation with the first sheet to form a stack.
FIG. 11 is a schematic view similar to FIG. 10 in which the stacked pair of sheets have passed through the intersection.
FIG. 12 is a schematic view similar to FIG. 11 in which the stacked sheets are held in the holding device.
FIG. 13 is a schematic view of the first and second transport paths with the sheet directing apparatus operating to separate a first sheet from a stack as the stack passes through the intersection.
FIG. 14 is a schematic view similar to FIG. 13 showing the sheet separating from the stack as the stack passes through the intersection.
FIG. 15 is a schematic view of the first and second transport paths showing a sheet being reoriented by a sheet turnover device.
FIG. 16 is a schematic view showing a sheet passing through a second intersection between the first transport path and a third transport path.
FIG. 17 is a schematic view of the first and second transport paths with a deposit envelope passing therethrough.
FIG. 18 is a schematic view showing the first, second and third transport paths, with a sheet moving from the holding device to the third transport path.
FIG. 19 is a schematic view of an alternative embodiment of the first, second and third transport paths with additional holding devices in the first transport path.
FIG. 20 is a schematic view showing the first and second transport paths with a sheet moving from the second transport path to the first transport path, and schematically demonstrating how the sheet directing apparatus is used as part of a sheetturnover device.
FIG. 21 is a schematic view of an alternative embodiment of the first, second and third transport paths used in an alternative automated banking machine in which two user interfaces and user accessible openings are provided.
FIG. 22 is a side view of an automated banking machine housing the transport apparatus schematically shown in FIG. 21.
FIG. 23 is a schematic view showing a sheet separating from or adding to a stack as the stack passes through an intersection.
BEST MODES FOR CARRYING OUT INVENTION
Referring now to the drawings, and particularly to FIG. 1, there is shown therein an automated banking machine generally indicated 10. Machine 10 is an ATM. However, other embodiments of the invention may be other types of automated bankingmachines. ATM 10 includes a user or customer interface generally indicated 12. Customer interface 12 includes a touch screen 14. Touch screen 14 is of a type known in the prior art which serves as both an input device and an output device. The touchscreen enables outputs through displays on the screen and enables customers to provide inputs by placing a finger adjacent to areas of the screen. Of course in other embodiments other types of displays may be used.
Customer interface 12 further includes a keypad 16. Keypad 16 includes a plurality of buttons which may be actuated by a customer to provide inputs to the machine. Customer interface 12 further includes a card reader slot 18. Card slot 18 isused to input a card with encoded data thereon that is usable to identify the customer and/or the customer's account information. Card slot 18 is connected to a card reader for reading data encoded on the card. Other exemplary embodiments may includetypes of input devices other than a card reader and/or a keypad. Some embodiments may include input devices such as biometric readers that may be operative to receive customer identifying inputs such as fingerprints, iris scans, retina scans, facetopography data, voice data or other inputs that provide data that is usable to identify a user. An example of an ATM that uses biometric input devices and other types of input devices is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 6,023,688 the disclosure of which isincorporated herein by reference.
Customer interface 12 further includes an opening 20. Opening 20 as later explained, is used to receive stacks of sheets or documents from a customer operating machine 10. Opening 20 is also used to deliver stacks of documents to customersoperating the machine. Although opening 20 is shown exposed in FIG. 1, it should be understood that in other embodiments it may be selectively covered by a movable gate or similar closure structure. It should be understood that these features of thedescribed ATM user interface are exemplary and in other embodiments the user interface may include different components and/or features.
As shown in FIG. 2 exemplary machine 10 has a generally divided body structure which includes a chest portion 22. Chest portion 22 in the exemplary embodiment is preferably a secure chest and is used for holding items of value such as currencyor deposits. Chest portion 22 has a door 24 which can be selectively opened to gain access to the interior of the chest portion. Door 24 preferably includes a combination lock or other locking mechanism (not shown) which prevents the chest portion frombeing opened by unauthorized persons.
Machine 10 further includes an upper enclosure portion 26. The upper enclosure portion has components of the customer interface 12 thereon. The customer interface portion 12 includes a fascia 28. Fascia 28 is preferably movably mounted on theupper enclosure portion 26 and may be selectively opened to gain access to components housed in the upper enclosure portion. A locking mechanism (not shown) is preferably included in the upper enclosure portion of the exemplary embodiment for preventingunauthorized persons from gaining access to the interior thereof.
As shown in FIG. 3 machine 10 includes a plurality of devices for carrying out banking transactions. It should be understood that the devices discussed hereafter are exemplary and that additional or different devices may be included in otherembodiments of the invention.
The interior of ATM 10 is schematically shown in FIG. 3. The exemplary ATM includes devices for handling sheets such as notes and other documents. ATM 10 includes sheet dispensing devices, document producing devices and sheet receiving devices. Among the sheet dispensing devices are currency dispensers 30 and 32. Currency dispensers 30 and 32 may be of the type shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,494,747, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein, which selectively dispense sheets one at a time inresponse to control signals. Currency dispensers 30 and 32 may include removable sheet holding containers or canisters which include indicia thereon. The canisters may be interchangeable and of the type shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,871,085, thedisclosure of which is incorporated herein. The indicia on the sheet holding canisters may be indicative of the type and/or properties of sheets held therein (i.e. currency type and denomination) and the indicia is read by a reading apparatus when thecanister is installed in the machine.
The exemplary ATM may operate in response to the indicia on the canisters to adjust the operation of the dispensers to conform to the canister contents and position. In the exemplary embodiment the sheet holding canisters and other devices, mayinclude indicia of the type shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,871,085. The information represented by the indicia is read by the reading apparatus and the resulting signals transmitted to the machine control circuitry. The control circuitry adjusts operationof the sheet dispensing and receiving devices in response to the signals to conform to the type and character of the sheets held in the various canisters.
In the exemplary embodiment of machine 10 shown in FIG. 3, the machine preferably includes a note handling mechanism including sheet receiving and delivering devices 34, 36 and 38. The exemplary sheet receiving and delivering devices may be ofthe type shown in U.S. Pat. No. 6,331,000, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. The sheet delivering and receiving devices may enable receiving and storing sheets in selected compartments as well as selectively deliveringsheets from the various compartments. As can be appreciated from the incorporated disclosure, some of the note handling mechanisms may receive and store notes only, others may dispense notes only and some may both receive and dispense notes. Othermechanisms may process sheets of types other than notes. This may include check and sheet processing devices of the types shown in the incorporated disclosures. Machine 10 further includes an envelope depository schematically indicated 40. Depository40 is a device configured to accept and hold relatively thick sheet-like deposit envelopes deposited by customers in the machine.
Depository 40, currency dispensers 30 and 32 and sheet receiving and delivering devices 34, 36 and 38 are all positioned within the chest portion 22 of the machine 10. In the exemplary embodiment, the sheet dispensing and receiving devices,except for the depository, in the exemplary embodiment may be interchangeably positioned in the machine. The control circuitry adjusts operation of the machine accordingly based on the device positions and the indicia on the canisters or devices.
Each of the currency dispensers 30 and 32, sheet receiving and delivering devices 34, 36 and 38, and the depository 40 are in communication with a sheet transport path generally indicated 42. Sheet transport path 42 comprises a plurality ofsheet transports which are aligned and in operative connection through a rear area of the chest portion. Sheet transport path 42 may include one or more sheet transports of the type shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,240,638, the disclosure of which isincorporated herein. Each of the depository 40, currency dispensers 30 and 32 and sheet receiving and delivering devices 34, 36 and 38 are in operative connection with the sheet transport path 42, and are enabled to deliver sheets to and/or receivesheets from the sheet transport path 42.
Sheet transport path 42 extends through an opening (not shown) in the chest portion 22 of the ATM chest. Wiring that connects components located in the chest portion with components in the upper enclosure portion 26 also extends through anopening in the chest portion and is connected to control circuitry, schematically indicated 44. The control circuitry 44 preferably includes at least one processor in operative connection with at least one memory or data store, and is operative to carryout programmed instructions based on data stored in the memory. The control circuitry in the exemplary embodiment operates the machine to carry out the operations hereinafter described. The control circuitry is alternatively referred to herein as aprocessor and/or a computer.
Upper enclosure portion 26 includes the fascia 28 and the customer accessible opening 20. A first transport path generally indicated 46 extends inside the machine from opening 20. First transport path 46 of the exemplary embodiment includes aninterwoven belt type transport of the type shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,797,599, the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference. A transport of this type is schematically shown in FIG. 5 and is generally indicated 48.
Transport 48 includes a plurality of spaced first rolls 50 and a plurality of intermediate spaced second rolls 52. Rolls 50 and 52, which are preferably crowned rolls, support elastomeric belts thereon. First rolls 50 support first belts 54 andsecond rolls 52 support second belts 56. Belts 54 and 56 extend longitudinally in the transport 48.
A stack of sheets schematically represented by sheet 58 in FIG. 5, move in engaged relation with belts 54 and 56 in the transport as described in the incorporated patent disclosure. The configuration of transport 48 enables transporting stackshaving varied numbers and types of sheets, as well as transporting passbooks and other forms of stacked sheets. The transport of the exemplary embodiment is useful because of its ability to transport sheets of various types, having varied thicknessesand frictional properties while minimizing skewing.
Referring again to FIG. 3, first transport path 46 intersects with transport path 42 at a first intersection, generally indicated 60. As hereinafter explained the exemplary embodiment comprises a separating mechanism that separates sheetsindividually from a stack and a stack assembly mechanism that produces a stack of documents. In the exemplary embodiment, sheets are selectively stacked and unstacked while moving through first intersection 60 to enable processing of sheets within themachine 10.
Upper enclosure portion 26 also includes various sheet producing, dispensing and/or receiving devices. These dispensing and receiving devices may include dispensers or devices for receiving or dispensing sheets similar to those shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,494,747 or U.S. Pat. No. 6,331,000, and may include removable canisters for holding sheets therein. Such removable canisters may also include indicia of the type described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,871,085, which are read by apparatus withinthe machine. The control circuitry may be operative to control the operation of the machine in response to the indicia.
Devices 62 and 64 may serve as part of document producing device and may hold sheets such as blank receipt or statement forms. Alternatively, one of such canisters may hold blank instruments which must be completed, such as scrip forms, moneyorders or travelers checks. A further sheet dispensing device 66 may dispense documents that need to be completed before dispense documents that need to be completed before dispense such as bank checks or documents that are dispensed without furtherprocessing such as plates of stamps.
A sheet receiving device 68 is also preferably included in the upper enclosure portion. Sheet receiving device 68 may be used for holding sheets such as checks or other instruments, which have been input by a customer to the machine and whichhave been imaged and/or canceled through processing in the machine.
The exemplary upper enclosure portion further includes at least one printing device schematically indicated 70. Printing device 70 may be used for selectively printing on sheets under control of the control circuitry. An imaging deviceschematically indicated 72 is also included. Imaging device 72 is preferably of the type which enables reading and generating an electronic image of a document, such as that shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,534,682, and 5,923,413 or U.S. Patent ApplicationSer. No. 60/678,916, the disclosures of each of which are incorporated as if fully rewritten herein. In some embodiments an imaging device may operate in conjunction with the control circuitry to produce signals which comprise image data, which imagedata corresponds to an electronic representation of an image of a check or other instrument. The electronic representation may include all or selected portions of one or both sides of the sheet. For example in some situations it may be suitable toobtain an electronic image of alphabetic, numerical and/or other symbols or features on the check. For example such data may be analyzed using character recognition software such as software commercially available from Check Solutions Inc., Carreker,Parascript, A2ia or other companies to determine the maker, amount and/or other data pertinent to the check for purposes of receiving and/or cashing the check.
In some embodiments printing devices or other devices may also serve as part of a cancellation device. Such a cancellation device may serve to print or otherwise mark checks or other documents received by the machine. For example, the machinemay mark as cancelled checks which are received and processed by the ATM. In some embodiments such checks or documents may be marked through operation of the cancellation device and then stored in a check storage location in the machine. In otherembodiments the cancellation device after the document has been imaged, may mark the document as cancelled and return the cancelled document to the user of the machine. In some embodiments one or more such cancelled documents may be assembled in a stackin a manner hereafter discussed, when returned to a user. Cancelled documents may also be returned in an assembled stack with other documents such as a receipt for the transaction and/or notes dispensed by the ATM as a result of cashing the check. Thecontrol circuitry may also operate to store data corresponding to the check and the identity of the user of the ATM providing the check to the machine in one or more data store for purposes of record keeping. For example the data store may store datacorresponding to the check with the data that corresponds to a user's account number, biometric data, photograph or other data usable to identify a user. Of course these approaches are exemplary and other approaches may be used.
In some embodiments the control circuitry may operate to check the user identity data before cashing one or more checks. The control circuitry may also be programmed to limit the risk of check cashing by unauthorized persons and/or to reduce therisk of money laundering. For example before cashing a check the control circuitry may operate to compare data corresponding to the characters identifying the payee indicated on the check to other input data corresponding to the user of the machineand/or to the characters on the check comprising the endorsement. If the payee, user and/or endorsement data does not correspond, the control circuitry may operate so that the check is not accepted or cashed. Further the control circuitry may operateto determine the amount and/or nature of checks the particular user has presented at the ATM and/or within a prior time period. The ATM may also operate to communicate with other computers in a network to determine the amount or nature of checkspresented by the user at other ATMs. If the user's check presenting activities fall outside certain established programmed parameters, such that the user's activities may be indicative of theft of the check or money laundering, for example, the ATM mayrefuse the transaction.
In the alternative and/or in addition a user presenting a check may be required by the control circuitry to provide at least one biometric input. This may be done even in circumstances where the user may be identifiable by data on a card oranother manner. The biometric identification data may be compared to stored data and used to evaluate the check cashing activities of this particular user. A determination may be made by the control circuitry or by a remote computer to determine if theactivities fall outside the established parameters such that the current transaction is suspicious and not permitted. In this way a user with multiple cards and/or multiple identities may be prevented from conducting transactions that might besuspicious in terms of theft or money laundering. Of course some embodiments may also operate to cross check biometric data with data on a debit or credit card or other item or other device presented by the user to the ATM to provide greater assuranceas to the identity of the user. Of course in other embodiments other approaches may be used.
The exemplary handling devices 62, 64 and 66, as well as the sheet receiving device 68, of the ATM are all in communication with one or more transports. These transports may be of the type shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,342,165, the disclosure ofwhich is incorporated herein, or other suitable sheet transport devices. The sheet transport devices form a sheet transport path 74. Sheet transport path 74 extends to transport path 46 and meets transport path 46 at a second intersection 76.
The upper enclosure portion may also include additional or other devices. Such devices may include a journal printer as schematically indicated by rolls 78. The journal printer is used to make a paper record of transactions conducted at machine10. Electronic journals may also be made through operation of the control circuitry and stored in memory. Other devices which may be included in the machine are other types of document producing devices, audio output devices, customer sensors, camerasand recorders, biometric sensing devices and other apparatus suitable for use in the operation of the particular type of automated banking machine.
Transport paths 42, 46 and 74 of the exemplary machine are shown in greater detail in FIG. 4. Transport path 46, which includes one or more transports of the interwoven belt type shown in FIG. 5. The transport path has therein a plurality offirst belts 80 which extend between first rolls 82 and 84. First rolls 82 and 84 are selectively driven by a reversible drive, schematically indicated 86.
Second belts 88 extend between a second roll 90 and rolls 92, 94 and 96. Second belts 88 are driven by a second reversible drive schematically indicated 98. As shown in FIG. 4, roll 96 is selectively movable for purposes which are laterexplained. Of course it should be understood that the belts and rolls shown in the first transport path 46 are actually a plurality of spaced belts and rolls of the type shown in FIG. 5.
First transport path 46 further includes a further transport section 100. Transport section 100 is similar to the transport shown in FIG. 5 and includes a plurality of third belts 102 journaled on spaced rolls 104 and 106.
Rolls 106 have positioned adjacent thereto a plurality of holding rolls 108. Rolls 108 are positioned in spaced axial intermediate relation of third belts 102. This configuration imparts a wave configuration to sheets and stacks of sheets in amanner comparable to that imparted to sheets held by transport 48 as shown in FIG. 5. Holding rolls 108 and transport section 100 are independently driven by reversible drives (not shown) under the control of the control circuitry 44.
Adjacent to first intersection 60, where sheet path 42 meets sheet path 46, is a sheet directing apparatus generally indicated 110. Sheet directing apparatus 110 includes sheet engaging rolls 112 and further rolls 114. Rolls 112 and 114 haveresilient belts 116 mounted thereon. It should be understood that rolls 112 and 114 are driven by one or more independent reversible drives (not shown) under control of the control circuitry 44. It should be understood that rolls 112 and 114 and belts116 in FIG. 4, represent a plurality of such belts and rolls which are preferably disposed in intermediate relation between the lower flights of first belts 80.
Transport path 42 further includes transport 118 which is adjacent to depository 40. Transport 118 includes a plurality of rolls which drive belts 120 in response to a reversing drive (not shown). Rolls 122 which are engaged with belts 120, aswell as rolls 124 which are independently driven by one or more reversible drives (not shown), are positioned in the sheet path 42 adjacent to rolls 114 and 96. The purpose of this configuration is later discussed in detail.
As schematically represented in FIG. 4 transport path 46 includes sensing devices. These sensing devices are in operative connection with the control circuitry 44, and operate to sense features of sheets and stacks of sheets in the sheettransport path. A thickness sensor schematically indicated 126 is preferably provided for sensing the thickness of sheets, stacks of sheets, or sheet like deposit envelopes that move along transport path 46. Indicia reading devices 128 and 130 arepreferably operative to sense indicia on sheets and envelopes moving in the transport path. The sensing devices may include photo reflective devices, magnetic sensing devices or other appropriate devices for distinguishing currency, various types ofnegotiable instruments and deposit envelopes. For example in some embodiments the sensing devices in combination with the control circuitry in the machine may comprise a validating device for assessing the validity of notes or other documents. Anexample of such a validating device is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,923,413 the disclosure of which is incorporated herein. In some embodiments the validating device may additionally or alternatively be operative to identify individual notes. Forexample, the validating device may produce through algorithms one or more distinctive values that are generally uniquely associated with a particular note. In addition or in the alternative, the validating device may include character recognitioncapabilities which enable determination of the serial numbers or other unique characters associated with particular notes. This may enable some embodiments of the machine to store in correlated relation in at least one data store, data that uniquelyidentifies a note input to the ATM and the particular user who provided the note to the machine. This may enable the ATM to identify a particular suspect note and capture the information on the user who provided it to the machine. The particular type,position and capabilities of sensing devices and/or validating devices used in a particular machine will depend on the characteristics and types of documents which are intended to be processed by the machine.
Various sheet manipulating and processing operations performed by the exemplary automated banking machine of the described embodiment are now explained in detail with reference to FIGS. 6-21.
FIG. 6 shows a sheet 132 moving through the intersection 60 of the first sheet path 46 and sheet path 42. Sheet 132, prior to reaching the position shown in FIG. 6, may have been dispensed by one of the sheet dispensing devices positionedadjacent to transport path 42 and moved adjacent to the intersection by the transports which make up the transport path. As sheet 132 approaches the intersection it is engaged by belts 116 of the sheet directing apparatus 110, as well as belts 88. Thecontrol circuitry operates the drives which move the belts to work in cooperating relation to move the sheet toward the intersection. Once the sheet is passed through the intersection it is engaged between the lower flights of belt 80 and the upperflights of belts 88, and the sheet 132 is carried in the first direction indicated by Arrow A in FIG. 6. As will be appreciated from FIG. 4, Arrow A is in the direction of the customer opening 20 of the automated banking machine.
As shown in FIG. 7 in the mode of operation currently being described, the structures act as a stack assembly mechanism. Once sheet 132 is fully moved through the intersection in the first transport path 146, movement of the sheet in the firstdirection is stopped. This is accomplished by the control circuitry 44 operating the transport drives in accordance with its program logic stored in memory, and in response to customer inputs at the customer interface. A sensor schematically indicated134 positioned in the first sheet path senses the position of the sheet. Sensor 134 is in operative connection with the control circuitry. Sensor 134 may be one of several types of sensors suitable for sensing the position of sheets, such as a photoreflective type sensor. Once sheet 132 is in the position shown in FIG. 7, belts 80 and 88 are stopped.
As shown in FIG. 8, the control circuitry now operates the components of the machine to move sheet 132 in a second opposed direction as indicated by Arrow B. To move sheet 132 through the intersection in the opposed direction, sheet engagingrolls 112 and belts 116 rotate to prevent sheet 132 from passing into the second sheet transport path 42. Transport section 100 is also operated by the control circuitry to engage sheet 132 and move it in the opposed direction. A sheet turnover member136 later described in detail, is moved to enable sheet 132 to pass roll 82 in the first sheet path.
As shown in FIG. 9 sheet 132 is moved in the second direction until it is engaged between holding rolls 108 and transport section 100. A sensor which is schematically indicated 138 is positioned to sense that sheet 132 is positioned in theholding device provided by the combination of holding rolls 108 and transport section 100. Sensor 138 is operatively connected to the control circuitry which operates to stop further movement of sheet 132 in the second direction when it has reached theposition shown. It should be noted that sheet 132 in this position is held adjacent to second intersection 76, which is the intersection of sheet path 74 and sheet path 46.
The next step in the operation of the exemplary stack assembly mechanism is represented in FIG. 10. A further sheet 140 is moved in transport path 42 toward the intersection 60. Sheet 140 may be dispensed by one of the sheet dispensing devices,sheet producing devices or is otherwise in the path, and is moved toward the intersection. As sheet 140 moves adjacent to the intersection it is engaged by the belts 116 of sheet directing apparatus 110 as well as belts 88. Sheet 140 is also sensed bya sensor 142 in transport path 42. Sensor 142 is in operative connection with the control circuitry. The control circuitry operates to accurately coordinate the movement of the sheet 140 in engagement with the sheet directing apparatus 110 and belts88.
As sheet 140 moves toward the intersection 60 the control circuitry operates to begin moving sheet 132 in the first direction along path 46 toward the intersection. The control circuitry coordinates the operation of the drives for the variouscomponents so that sheet 140 and sheet 132 pass through the intersection 60 in coordinated relation. As a result, sheets 132 and 140 engage in aligned, abutting relation so as to form a stack as they move through the intersection 60.
As shown in FIG. 11 once sheets 140 and 132 have passed intersection 60 in the first direction, they are in a stack generally indicated 144. As schematically indicated in FIG. 11, in this mode of operation sensor 144 is operative to sensepassage of the stack through the intersection and the control circuitry is operative to stop movement of the stack in the first direction in response to signals from the sensor. After sheets 132 and 140 have combined to form stack 144, additional sheetsmay be added to the stack. This is accomplished by moving the stack 144 in the second direction similar to that which is done with sheet 132 previously, as represented in FIG. 8. Stack 144 is moved to the position shown in FIG. 12 in which it is heldby the holding device formed by holding rolls 108 and transport section 100. Thereafter, additional sheets may be added to the stack by passing sheets on transport path 42 and engaging such sheets in aligned relation with the stack in a manner similarto that represented in FIG. 10.
It will be appreciated that a stack comprising a significant number of generally aligned and abutting sheets may be formed in the manner described. Because the sheets are selectively dispensed from the dispensing devices and/or sheet producingdevices adjacent to transport path 42, the sheets may be stacked in a desired order as determined by the control circuitry. For example, sheets which are currency notes may be stacked in order from highest to lowest denomination, or vice versa. Particular sheets may be placed in a desired location within the stack. Once the stack has been assembled in the desired manner by the control circuitry of the machine, it may be moved in first transport path 46 to the opening 20 so it may be taken by acustomer.
It should also be noted that in the position of stack 144 shown in FIG. 12, the stack is positioned in the holding device formed by holding rolls 108 and transport section 100 adjacent to intersection 76. Intersection 76 is the intersection oftransport path 46 and transport path 74. Transport path 74 extends to the devices housed in the upper enclosure portion 26 of machine 10.
As schematically represented in FIG. 16, a sheet 146 may be moved from one of the devices adjacent to sheet path 74 to engage the stack 144 at intersection 76 as the stack moves in the first direction. This enables adding sheets to the stackwhich are housed in the sheet dispensing devices and/or document producing devices adjacent to sheet path 74. The stack formed by the addition of sheets from sheet path 74 may be moved through sheet path 46 to the customer.
It will be understood that sheets from sheet path 74 may be delivered individually through intersection 76 into sheet path 46, and may thereafter be added to a stack formed at intersection 60 in a manner similar to that previously described. Itshould also be understood that sheet path 74 includes appropriate sensors that are operatively connected to the control circuitry. The control circuitry operates so that sheets from the sheet path 74 may be added to a stack in engaged, aligned relationwith the other sheets in the stack as the sheets pass through intersection 76. As a result the associated structures operate as a further stack assembly mechanism.
As shown in FIG. 15, exemplary machine 10 further includes the capability of taking sheets in the first sheet path and turning them over using a turnover device. This may be done as shown in FIG. 15, through the use of sheet turnover member 136. Exemplary sheet turnover member 136 comprises a member including arcuate guides or tines conforming to the contour of rolls 82. When the turnover member is positioned adjacent to rolls 82, such as in FIG. 15, a moving sheet 148 is caused to be turnedover from the position of the sheet in the first sheet path 46. This is accomplished by moving sheet 148 in the direction of Arrow C in FIG. 15. In the exemplary embodiment the upper belt flights of belt 80 are part of a sheet path generally indicated150. Sheet path 150 extends adjacent to printing device 70 and imaging device 72 shown in FIG. 3. As a result, the sheet may be selectively moved into sheet path 150 for purposes of conducting printing or marking thereon, such as by a cancellationdevice, for producing an electronic image of the sheet by an imaging device, or both. Of course other or different functions may be performed.
Once the printing or imaging activity has been conducted on the sheet in sheet path 150, the sheet may be returned to the first sheet path 46. Once the sheet 148 is returned to the first sheet path it may be selectively moved to one of the othersheet paths 42 or 74. From these sheet paths it may be directed into and stored in an appropriate sheet storage device or location in the machine. Alternatively, sheet 148 may be selectively moved to be combined in a stack with other sheets atintersections 60 or 76. This may in some embodiments provide for the delivery of cancelled checks to a user. Such cancelled checks may be delivered in a stack with other checks, receipts, notes or other documents.
In some embodiments the sheet turnover members 136 may be configured so that sheets in transport path 150 may be directly added to a stack of sheets at the intersection of sheet path 46 and the turnover device. This is accomplished byconfiguring or moving the turnover member so that the tines in the lower position do not interfere with the passage of a stack of sheets in the first direction past the turnover member. This feature provides yet another stack assembly mechanism and maybe particularly advantageous when a customer receipt is printed on a sheet by the printer in sheet path 150, and it is desired to have the receipt at the top of the stack. This may be achieved by positioning the stack in the holding device formed byholding rolls 108 and transport section 100, and moving the stack in the first direction to the right in FIG. 15 as the printed receipt sheet is engaged in aligned relation with the top of the stack as the stack moves toward opening 20.
It should be understood that in other embodiments, sheets from paths 74 and 42, as well as from path 150, may all be added to a stack as the stack moves from the holding device provided by transport section 100 and holding rolls 108, in the firstdirection toward the customer. This can be readily envisioned from the schematic view shown in FIG. 16 with the stack 144 moving to the right as shown, and sheets being added to the stack as the stack passes roll 82 and again as the stack moves throughintersection 60. As will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, numerous configurations and operations of the system may be provided depending on the functions carried out by the machine as well as the programming and configuration of the controlcircuitry.
It should be understood that other sheet turnover devices, other than, or in addition to turnover member 136, may be provided in other embodiments. For example, in FIG. 18 a directing member 152 is shown in cooperating relation with roll 108. Directing member 152 is selectively movable between the position shown, wherein it is adjacent to roll 108 and the position shown in phantom. As represented in FIG. 18, when the directing member 152 is in the position shown it is operative to direct asheet 154 that is held in the holding device formed by transport section 110 and holding rolls 108 into transport path 74. Sheet 154 may be moved in transport path 74 to a sheet handling device for storage therein in the manner previously discussed.
Alternatively, turnover of the sheet 154 may be accomplished by moving it into transport path 174 and thereafter disposing directing member 152 away from roll 108. Once this is done, sheet 154 may again be directed into path 146 and moved to theright as shown in FIG. 18 so that sheet 154 will move in a manner comparable to that of sheet 146 shown in FIG. 16. This will result in the orientation of sheet 154 being reversed in sheet path 46 from its original orientation.
The components adjacent to intersection 60 may also be operated as a sheet turnover device. This is represented schematically in FIG. 20. This is accomplished by having a sheet 156 initially positioned in the first sheet path similar to sheet132 in FIG. 7. The sheet is then moved into the second sheet path at intersection 60 by operating the sheet directing apparatus 110 in a manner that is later discussed in detail. Once sheet 156 is in the second sheet path, the direction of belts 88 and116 is reversed while the lower flights of belt 80 are moved to move the sheet in the second direction indicated by Arrow B. This results in the sheet being turned over from its original orientation in the transport.
It should be further understood that sheets which originate in transport path 42 may also be directed in the manner shown in FIG. 20. This feature enables selectively positioning sheets and turning them over through a number of differentmechanisms this enhances the capabilities of the exemplary automated banking machine.
A further useful aspect of the exemplary embodiment is that it includes a separating mechanism for separating sheets from a stack as represented schematically in FIGS. 13 and 14. The exemplary embodiment shown includes the capability ofselectively separating a sheet from a stack of sheets as the stack passes through the intersection 60 of transport path 46 and transport path 42. As schematically represented in FIG. 13, a stack of sheets 158 moves in the direction indicated by Arrow Bin transport path 46. Although stack 158 is shown as a stack of four sheets, it should be understood that the stack may comprise a greater or lesser number of sheets. Stack 158 may be a stack of sheets received from a user of the machine throughopening 20 and may consist of different sheet types. For example in some embodiments stacks accepted in the machine may include stacks of mixed notes, checks and/or other types of sheets As stack 158 moves toward intersection 60 the control circuitry ofthe machine operates sheet directing apparatus 110 so that rolls 112 and 114, and belts 116 journaled thereon, move relative to the stack in a direction opposed to the direction of stack movement. As a result of this movement by the sheet directingapparatus, a first sheet 160 which bounds a first side of the stack, is frictionally engaged by belts 116 and is stripped and separated from the stack. The first sheet 160 is directed into the sheet path 42 as the stack which comprises the remainingsheets continues on path 46. This enables sheet 160 to be handled separately by the devices adjacent to path 42, or to be later brought individually back to path 46 for individual transport to devices adjacent to other paths.
It should be noted that in the exemplary embodiment a sensor 162 is positioned adjacent to path 42. Sensor 162 may be a photo electric sensor connected to the control circuitry for sensing the position of the sheet. Alternatively, sensor 162may comprise a plurality of similar or different sensors adapted for sensing features of a sheet. Sensor 162 may be part of a validation device such as that previously discussed that is suitable for determining note type and denomination. This enablesthe control circuitry to properly identify a currency sheet and place it in a designated note handling mechanism, storage position or other the sheet receiving device. Sensors 162 may alternatively operate in connection with the control circuitry toprovide a validation mechanism to determine or assess the genuineness of a sheet. In other embodiments other features such as magnetic ink indicia, bar coding and other features may be detected for purposes of identifying the type of sheet as it movespast the sensors.
As previously mentioned, in some embodiments the validation device may be operative to identify particular sheets, such as by serial number or other characteristics. In some embodiments such information may be stored for suspect notes, and inothers for all or certain selected categories of notes. Such data concerning individual notes may be stored in a data store in correlated relation with information usable to determine the identity of the user who provided the note to the machine. Otherdata may be stored as well, such as for example, the storage location or position where the note is stored in the machine or other information that can be used to recover the particular note and/or to document the transaction.
In some embodiments the machine may hold in a data store, identifying information related to notes for purposes of comparison to notes provided to the machine. This may include in some embodiments information corresponding to properties,characteristics or numbers associated with known counterfeit or invalid notes. Such information used for comparison may also include identifying data for individual notes already deposited in the machine. Thus for example, if a note provided to themachine is individually identified by determining the serial number, the serial number may be compared through operation of the control circuitry to stored data for serial numbers of known counterfeits. Alternatively or in addition, the serial number ofthe note provided to the ATM may be compared to serial numbers for notes previously deposited or input in the machine. In the event of a match in either example the control circuitry would act in response to the apparent suspect note in accordance withits programming. This may include capturing and storing the suspect note, capturing additional data about the user presenting the suspect note, notifying authorities or taking other action.
In embodiments where identifying data on all notes is captured and used for comparison, the control circuitry may operate to indicate when the note has been dispensed out of the machine. This may include for example deleting the informationabout the note such as its serial number from the data store upon dispense. Alternatively such indication may include storing the information indicative that the particular note has been dispensed. The information about the note dispensed may in someembodiments be stored in correlated relation with information unable to identify the user who received the note from the machine. Of course other approaches may be used in other embodiments and the approaches discussed with regard to notes may also beapplied to other types of documents.
Returning to the discussion of the operation of the separating mechanism, after sheet 160 is separated from the stack 158 as shown in FIG. 14, the control circuitry may operate the transports in the first path 46 to move the remaining stack to aposition to the right of the intersection 60. If it is desired to separate an additional sheet from the stack, the remaining sheets may be moved through the intersection again in the direction of Arrow D to accomplish separation of the sheet that isnewly bounding the side of the stack. Alternatively, if the control circuitry determines that it is not necessary to separate a further sheet from the stack, the sheet directing apparatus may be operated so that belts 116 and rollers 112 and 114, movein the same direction as rollers 92 and at a similar speed. This will result in the stack passing through the intersection without a sheet being separated from the stack.
It should be understood that while in the exemplary embodiment shown the sheet directing apparatus comprises a plurality of rolls having resilient surfaces thereon that move at a relative speed that is less than the speed of the moving stack, inother embodiments other types of stripping and separating devices may be used. These may include for example, resilient pads or rolls. Such devices may also include resilient suction cup type mechanisms or vacuum generating devices. Furtheralternative forms of sheet directing devices may include other physical members that engage selectively one or more sheets so as to direct them from path 46 into another path 42.
It should also be noted that in the exemplary embodiment shown in FIGS. 13, 14 and 23, sheets may be separated from a stack as the stack moves from right to left. However, in other embodiments it may be desirable to arrange the sheet directingapparatus so that sheets may be separated from a stack when the stack moves in either direction. This may be readily accomplished through arrangements of resilient rollers or other stripping devices or members which may be selectively actuated to engageand separate a sheet upon passage of a stack through an intersection. This configuration may have advantages in other embodiments where greater speed in sheet separation is desired.
As will be appreciated from the foregoing discussion, in some banking machines it may be desirable to process certain sheets individually. For example, if it is determined that a sheet separated from a stack is a check or other negotiableinstrument that must be transferred to the imaging device, it may be desirable to clear a path which enables the sheet requiring such handling to be transported individually. This can be accomplished by disposing the stack of sheets that are notcurrently being processed individually away from the single sheet in first path 46. In this manner the sheet requiring individual handling can be transferred to path 150 or such other location as may be necessary without causing the remaining stack toundergo transport to an undesirable location.
A further alternative to facilitate individual handling of particular sheets is represented by the alternative embodiment shown in FIG. 19. In this embodiment path 46 includes three separately controlled transport sections 164, 166 and 168. Transport section 164 is similar to the transport previously discussed, except that its belts terminate at rolls 170 and 172. Transport section 166 may include an interwoven belt transport similar to that shown in FIG. 5 with the exception that itsbelts are offset from those in transport section 164. Transport section 166 may be driven by one or more independent reversible drives from transport section 164. The drive for transport section 166 is in operative connection with and operates underthe control of the control circuitry.
Transport section 166 terminates in rolls 174 and 176. Rolls 174 and 176 are coaxial with other rolls that are spaced intermediate thereto that are part of transport section 168. Transport section 168 terminates at rolls 178 and 180 which areadjacent to a customer accessible opening indicated 182. Transport section 168 is operated by at least one independent reversible drive in response to the control circuitry.
Transport sections 166 and 168 along path 46 provide locations in which documents or stacks of documents may be temporarily stored as other documents are routed through intersections 60 and 76. After the necessary processing is done on theindividual documents, the documents that are temporarily stored in the transport sections 166 and 168 may be moved to other transport sections for further processing. It should be understood that transport sections 166 and 168 include appropriatesensors for sensing the positions of the documents being temporarily stored therein which enables the control circuitry to coordinate movement thereof.
A further advantage of the exemplary embodiment described herein is that not only may the automated banking machine 10 accept individual documents and stacks of documents from a customer, but it may also accept conventional deposit envelopes. Asshown in FIG. 17 a thick sheet like deposit envelope 184 may be moved along path 46 from a customer. The identification of the deposited item as a deposit envelope may be made based on readings from sensors 126, 128 or 130 as shown in FIG. 4, oralternatively or in addition based on customer inputs through one or more input devices at the customer interface 12 of the machine.
Deposit envelope 184 moves in transport path 46 in the direction of Arrow E as shown in FIG. 17. Upon determining that the item moving in the transport path is a deposit envelope, the control circuitry operates the sheet directing apparatus 110to direct the envelope into transport path 42. The control circuitry also enables roll 96 and belts 88 to move in the direction indicated by Arrow F. This causes the flight of belt 88 to move to the position shown in phantom in FIG. 4. This enables theenvelope to move into the depository device 40 (see FIG. 3) in which it may be stacked in aligned relation with other envelopes. Further the control circuitry may also operate transport 118 and rolls 124 shown in FIG. 4 to assure that envelope 184 doesnot pass further along sheet transport path 42 than the depository 40.
The ability of the exemplary embodiment of the automated banking machine to handle depository envelopes, stacks of sheets and individual sheets, provides enhanced functionality for the machine. The ability of the exemplary embodiment to acceptthick items in the area of path 42 adjacent to the intersection, also enables the control circuitry to use the area adjacent to the intersection as a temporary storage location for stacks of sheets. This may be desirable in some embodiments where areceipt form is delivered on transport path 74 and must be directed to transport path 150 for printing thereon before being combined with a stack to be delivered to a customer.
The exemplary embodiment of the ATM has the capability of storing the assembled stack of sheets adjacent to intersection 60 in transport path 42 until such time as the printed receipt is moved into the intersection along first path 46. As thereceipt form is produced by a document producing device and moved into the intersection 60 by transport section 100, the stack is moved into the intersection in coordinated relation therewith so that the printed receipt is assembled into the stack andpositioned at the top side of the stack. The assembled stack may be moved along transport path 46 to the opening where it may be taken by the customer.
In some embodiments the ATM may also operate to provide certain types of documents in exchange for other documents. As previously discussed, some embodiments may receive checks or other instruments, validate the check, and provide the user withcurrency notes. In some embodiments, a user may provide notes to the ATM and receive other types of documents such as money orders, scrip, vouchers, gift certificates or bank checks. In some embodiments the control circuitry may operate in the mannerpreviously discussed to store information concerning individual notes in a data store in correlated relation with information usable to identify the user who deposited the notes in the machine. Some embodiments may store in correlated relation with allor a portion of such data, information which identifies the check, money order or other document provided by the machine to the user.
In some embodiments the ability of a single user to provide cash to the ATM may be controlled or limited to avoid money laundering or other suspect activities. For example, a user placing notes in the ATM to purchase money orders or otherdocuments, may be required to provide at least one identifying input. This may include a biometric input such as a thumbprint for example. Such at least one identifying input may include data on a card or other device a user provides to operate themachine, or may be in lieu thereof or in addition thereto. Alternatively, some embodiments may enable use of the ATM to buy documents such as money orders, gift certificates or other documents without using a card or similar device to access themachine. In some cases a user may exchange notes of certain denominations for notes of other denominations. In such cases the control circuitry may require at least one identifying input from the user requesting to exchange cash for other documents.
The control circuitry may operate in accordance with programmed instructions and parameters to limit the number or value of documents a user may purchase or otherwise receive. This may include comparing user identifying data with data input inconnection with prior transactions. This may be done by comparing user input data stored in a data store at the particular ATM, and/or data stored in computers connected to the ATM. By limiting the number or value of documents a user can purchase withcash, either overall, for a particular document or within a given time period, the risk of illegal activities such as money laundering can be minimized. Further such systems may more readily enable funds to be tracked.
An alternative embodiment of an automated banking machine is indicated 186 in FIG. 22. Machine 186 is similar to machine 10 except that it includes two fascias and customer interfaces designated 188 and 190. Machine 186 is capable of operationby two users generally simultaneously.
The sheet handling mechanism for machine 186 is indicated 192 in FIG. 21. The sheet handling mechanism 192 is similar to that described in the first embodiment, except as otherwise noted. Mechanism 192 includes a first customer accessibleopening 194 in customer interface 190, and a second customer accessible opening 196 in customer interface 188. Customer opening 196 receives and delivers sheets through a transport section 197. Transport section 197 is preferably an interwoven belttype transport of the type shown in FIG. 5 and is capable of moving sheets, envelopes and stacks of sheets in engagement therewith. Transport section 197 is operated by a reversible drive similar to the reversible drives used for the other belttransport sections, and is in operative connection with the control circuitry of the machine.
The operation of the alternative sheet handling mechanism 192 is similar to that previously described except that the sheets, envelopes or stacks of sheets that are processed may be received from or delivered to either customer opening 194 orcustomer opening 196. Because of the high speed capability of the exemplary embodiment, it is possible for the sheet handling mechanism 192 to adequately service two users simultaneously without undue delay.
As will be appreciated from the foregoing description, the modifications necessary for the sheet handling mechanism of the first embodiment to accommodate two simultaneous users is relatively modest. In the exemplary embodiment it is possible toincrease the number of customer interfaces on the machine from one to two at a relatively small cost. This is particularly advantageous for an automated teller machine positioned in a high customer traffic area. It is also useful for automated bankingmachines, such as those used by tellers to count and dispense currency notes. This is because the configuration of the sheet handling mechanism enables two tellers or other personnel to be serviced by a single machine.
Exemplary embodiments may operate to assure operation in accordance with the principles of U.S. Pat. No. 6,315,194, the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference as if fully rewritten herein. Exemplary embodiments may operate usingsoftware architectures like that shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,901,382 and/or 6,908,032 the disclosures of each of which are incorporated herein by reference. Further it should be understood that software instructions that cause an automated bankingmachine to operate may be resident on articles such as a hard disk, CD, DVD, firmware chips, thumb drive or other suitable device.
It should be understood that alternative embodiments may have other or different structures for accepting and dispensing notes or other sheets. These may include for example the sheet dispensing and accepting devices of the incorporateddisclosures. Thus for example alternative embodiments may receive notes through one opening in a fascia of the machine and checks through a separate opening. Various mechanisms may be employed to accomplish the note and check accepting functions.
In some exemplary embodiments an automated banking machine may operate through communication with one or more remote computers to enable the carrying out of transactions. This may be done in the manner of certain of the incorporated disclosures. In such embodiments the machine may operate to receive account identifying information from a user through an input device such as a card reader, which reads a card that includes magnetic or other indicia which identifies a user's account. Otheridentifying inputs may also be received such as a PIN number or biometric input. The automated banking machine operates in accordance with its programming to present outputs that prompt a user to operate the machine and provide the appropriate inputs.
A user may also provide inputs to indicate the type of transaction that they wish to conduct. This may be done through a keypad, touch screen, function keys or other input devices of the machine interface. Generally in an exemplary embodiment,the user can also input at least one value associated with a particular transaction that they wish to conduct. For example a user may wish to withdraw cash from their account. The user provides one or more appropriate inputs to the machine to soindicate. Alternatively the user may wish to make an envelope deposit. The user may give an indication thereof through inputs to one or more input devices. Generally the user will also input an amount associated with the envelope deposit.
Often when the user has input identifying information, the transaction type they wish to conduct, and an amount, the ATM operates responsive to operation of at least one processor in the machine and instructions stored in at least one data store,to communicate with a remote computer. In the exemplary embodiment at least one processor of the automated banking machine may operate to communicate through a network interface card, modem or other suitable communications device with a remote computeroperated by a transaction processor, bank or other entity that can determine if the user is authorized to conduct the transaction that has been requested. Generally the remote computer will determine if the account is valid and whether the identifyinginformation that has been input, such as a PIN number, is correct for the particular account. In addition the remote computer will determine if the user is authorized to conduct the transaction, such as by determining the amount of funds that the userhas requested to withdraw from the account is available.
If the at least one remote computer determines that the user is authorized to conduct the transaction that has been requested, the at least one computer sends one or more messages back to the banking machine. In response to the messages from theremote computer, the at least one processor in the machine operates in accordance with its programming to cause the transaction function devices in the machine to perform the appropriate functions. For example the at least one processor may operate thecurrency dispenser to dispense the requested amount of cash to the user. In an exemplary embodiment the at least one processor operates in accordance with its programming to determine if the machine is able to carry out the requested transaction for theuser. If the transaction is carried out successfully, the at least one processor operates to cause one or more messages to be sent from the banking machine to the remote computer confirming that the requested transaction was carried out. In response tothe receipt of such messages the remote computer is operative to take appropriate action such as to debit the user's account, post a provisional credit for an envelope deposit or take other appropriate action. Of course if the banking machine was notable to carry out the requested transaction the at least one processor is operative to send at least one message to the remote computer indicating this fact. In such circumstances the remote computer may be operative to take action to avoid modifyingthe user's account if the transaction could not be successfully conducted.
In some embodiments it is possible to generally immediately post a credit to a user's account for items deposited in the banking machine. This may be appropriate in cases where the user has made a deposit of currency notes into a banking machinethat can verify the authenticity of such notes. In addition or in the alternative, banking machines that can process and/or image negotiable instruments such as checks may include the capability to accept one or more checks and post the amount thereofto the user's account. In still other embodiments machines of the type described herein may have the capability to accept a deposit consisting of both checks and currency bills from the user and to operate the banking machine so as to promptly cause theamount of the checks and the value of the bills be posted to a user's account.
In an exemplary embodiment the at least one processor operates in accordance with the associated program instructions included in at least one data store, to carry out transactions for users which may include a deposit of checks, currency billsor both. In this exemplary embodiment the at least one processor operates to receive user account identifying information from the user through input devices in a manner like that previously described. The at least one processor then operates inaccordance with its programming to provide outputs to the user inquiring as to the type of transaction that they wish to conduct. In an exemplary embodiment the user is enabled to provide inputs to the machine indicating that they are making a depositincluding checks, currency bills or both.
In this exemplary embodiment the at least one processor is operative to cause at least one message to be sent from the banking machine to the at least one remote computer. In this exemplary mode of operation, however, the processor in thebanking machine does not cause a message requesting a transaction to be sent to the remote computer. Rather in this exemplary embodiment the at least one message is operative to make an inquiry to the remote computer as to whether the particular user'saccount associated with the account identifying information read by the machine is authorized to have credits posted thereto responsive to one or more messages from the banking machine indicating deposits of currency bills and/or checks into the bankingmachine, or in some embodiments, deposits of other items that can be made into the machine. The at least one remote computer determines whether the user's account can post such credits directly responsive to messages indicating such banking machinedeposits, and provides at least one message providing a positive or negative indication to the banking machine.
In an exemplary embodiment the at least one processor of the banking machine operates responsive to receiving the input(s) from a user indicating that they are going to deposit a check and/or currency bills, to enable the machine to accept one ormore of such items. In the exemplary embodiment the machine operates to receive such an item into the machine and to scan or otherwise process the first such item. In the processing of the first such item the at least one processor is operative togenerate at least one identifying value which is associated with the user transaction session. In the exemplary embodiment the identifying value or values may take various forms and be based on different parameters. These parameters may include forexample, time-based parameters, parameters based on data taken from the item, data stored in memory in the machine, a value generated through operation of a random number generator or other type processor routine, or combinations thereof. The generatedat least one identifying value is operative in the exemplary embodiment, to associate all identified items that are deposited by the user in a given transaction session at the ATM. Of course this approach is exemplary and in other embodiments otherapproaches may be used.
In the exemplary embodiment the at least one processor operates to generate identifying values for each deposit item received by the machine. However, in the exemplary embodiment when more than one deposit item is received from the user in aparticular transaction, the identifying values other than the first one are not stored in the data store in associated relation with the items, but rather the first identifying value is associated with each item. Of course this approach is exemplary.
In the exemplary embodiment if the remote computer indicates to the banking machine that the user is authorized to have their account credited for checks and/or currency bills deposited by the user at the ATM, the at least one processor operatesin accordance with its programming to accept at least one item into the machine from the user and to analyze the deposited item. This may include for example, allowing the item to enter the machine and determining the amount, micr line data and otherdata associated with each check that the user places into the machine. This may be done in a manner like that shown in the incorporated disclosures. The at least one processor operates to determine this data and store the data in the at least one datastore. In other embodiments the machine may enable the item to be placed within the machine, and accepting the item may include moving the item to another location within the machine, such as a location where the item can be analyzed or stored. Ofcourse various approaches may be used.
Further, in an exemplary embodiment, for each check accepted in the machine the at least one processor is operative to produce image data corresponding to a visual image of one or both sides of the check. This may be suitable for producing asubstitute check that may be processed in lieu of a paper check for collection. The image data may be stored in at least one data store through operation of the at least one processor. As previously discussed in the exemplary embodiment datacorresponding to the check and/or the image data is stored in associated relation with the identifying value. Such identifying value indicates that the particular item and the corresponding image data and other data is associated with the particularuser transaction.
The at least one processor of the exemplary embodiment operates to process each of the checks that has been input by a user. This includes determining the amount of each of the checks as well as the micr line and/or other data associatedtherewith. In the exemplary embodiment the at least one processor operates to sum all the values associated with each of the plurality of checks that have been placed in the machine. In the exemplary embodiment checks that can be determined asaccurately read are accepted into the machine and are held for deposit. Further in the exemplary embodiment sheets that cannot be identified as checks, bills or other items that are acceptable by the banking machine device receiving the particularsheets, are returned to the user. Of course these approaches are exemplary and in other embodiments other approaches may be used.
In the exemplary embodiment if the user has only deposited checks into the machine during the particular transaction session, the at least one processor operates in accordance with its programming to send information corresponding to the totalamount of the checks as well as other check data, to the at least one remote computer. In an exemplary embodiment this may be done responsive to at least one user input indicating that the user has no further items to deposit. The at least one remotecomputer operates in accordance with its programming to receive the data from the banking machine concerning the total amount of the checks deposited. The remote computer then operates in accordance with its programming to credit the user's account forthe total amount of the check. Of course this approach is exemplary and in other embodiments other approaches may be used. This may include for example, deferring the crediting of the user's account for a period of time until check image data isreceived or actual physical checks are recovered from the machine. Of course these approaches are exemplary.
In operation of some exemplary embodiments if the user is also depositing currency bills in the machine, the machine operates in accordance with its programming to validate and identify the denomination of the currency bills. This may includefor example, determining characteristics associated with each bill so that each currency bill may be identified. Further in some embodiments the data associated with each currency bill may be stored in at least one data store in association with the atleast one identifying value. In the exemplary machine each of the currency bills deposited by a user is validated to determine if it appears genuine as well as to determine the value thereof. In an exemplary embodiment each of the bills is processedthrough operation of the machine and the at least one processor operates to sum the values of each of the bills to determine the total value of bills deposited by the user in the transaction session. The value data as well as the total value of thecurrency bills is stored in the at least one data store through operation of the at least one processor. In some embodiments the machine may operate to identify sheets that appear to be counterfeit currency bills and hold them in storage in the machinefor removal by proper authorities. In still other embodiments the machine may operate to return sheets that cannot be verified as genuine bills to the user. This may be done for example through processes described in the incorporated disclosures. Ofcourse these approaches are exemplary and in other embodiments other approaches may be used.
If the at least one processor in the machine has determined the total value of all the bills deposited by the user in the transaction, the at least one processor operates to send at least one message to the at least one remote computer. The atleast one remote computer operates in accordance with its programming to note the deposit in association with the user's account. This may include in an exemplary embodiment, immediately crediting the user's account for the currency bills received. Alternatively in some embodiments, crediting the user account may be deferred for a period of time or until other functions can be performed. In the exemplary embodiment the identifying values associated with the particular transaction are alsotransmitted to the at least one remote computer. This enables the computer to associate all of the particular items that have been deposited by the particular user in a given transaction with the other transaction data. Of course these approaches areexemplary and in other embodiments other approaches may be used.
It should be understood that in exemplary embodiments the banking machine may operate in accordance with its programming to receive and process mixed stacks of checks and currency bills. The machine may operate to determine the amount and valueof each, and send one or more messages so as to cause a remote computer to credit the user's account. In still other embodiments the machine may operate to receive checks through one mechanism and bills through a separate mechanism. Various approachesto providing inputs and outputs through the user interface may also be provided. These approaches may include for example, the machine instructing a user to input checks separately from bills. Alternatively the machine may request that the user inputbills and checks one at a time and/or in a particular order. In some embodiments the user interface may present images of deposited items to a user along with value or amount data, and request that the user provide inputs to verify the amount. In someembodiments the at least one processor may operate to sum the value of bills and checks separately, and then combine them while in other embodiments the values may be summed in mixed fashion.
In the exemplary embodiment data associated with deposit items in a particular transaction by a user are associated with a unique identifying value for that particular transaction. For the next transaction conducted at the machine by anotheruser, the deposit items deposited by that user are associated with a different identifying value, that identifying value being generated in response to the first deposit item deposited by that user. However, in other embodiments other approaches may beused. Of course as can be appreciated, in the exemplary embodiment the use of a particular identifying value for each different user transaction is useful for purposes of correlating items and/or amounts that are deposited during a particulartransaction. It should be understood however that these approaches are exemplary and in other embodiments other approaches may be used.
In an exemplary embodiment the automated banking machine is further operative to communicate messages to at least one remote computer, that includes image data for checks that have been deposited in the machine. This image data may be of thetype previously discussed which includes data corresponding to the appearance of at least one side of checks that have been deposited in the machine. In the exemplary embodiment the image data is sent with a TIFF, PCX or other suitable image file whichcan be transferred through operation of the at least one processor, from the automated banking machine to the at least one remote computer. In addition data associated with the checks and/or transaction is also sent as a file from the machine. This mayinclude amount value, account number data, micr line data, time data, machine identifying data or other data that is useful for purposes of documenting and settling the transaction. Of course in an exemplary embodiment the data also includes the atleast one identifying value that identifies the checks and/or other items that were deposited in a given transaction. Such image data and transaction data may be sent in various embodiments, in different formats. This may include for example, sendingsuch data in the form of markup language documents or other suitable records. In some embodiments such data and images may be sent to a remote computer after each transaction. In other embodiments such transaction and image data may be accumulated fora plurality of transactions and sent together. Of course various approaches may be used.
In the exemplary embodiment the at least one processor operates in accordance with its programming to include with the transaction data, information related to currency bills that were also deposited during the transaction. This may include insome embodiments a total associated with the plurality of currency items. Alternatively or in addition, the data may include the particular denominations of bills, serial number data, series data or other data associated with identifying the types ofbills or the particular bills themselves. Such data may be useful in the manner previously discussed to track the source of particular bills to the particular user who deposited them in the machine. Of course these approaches are exemplary and in otherembodiments other approaches may be used.
It should be understood that although in the exemplary embodiment checks and currency bills are accepted in a machine, other embodiments may accept other or additional types of items. These may include items which result in credits to a user'saccount and/or items which result in debits to the user's account. Such items which result in debits may include for example, charges for bills such as utility bills, phone bills, credit card bills or other documents or items evidencing obligations of auser to pay particular amounts.
It should also be understood that in some embodiments additional data may be generated by the machine and stored in connection with the data corresponding to the particular items. These may include for example, image data corresponding to theuser. Such data may also include biometric data, signature data or data from an item carried by the user such as a digital signature associated with a cell phone, RFID tag or other item. Such data may be used to verify the particular source of a givenitem received in the machine. Of course these approaches are exemplary and in other embodiments other approaches may be used.
Other exemplary embodiments may be used in connection with ATM systems that were developed for use with ATMs that only accept envelope deposits. In such systems ATMs include depositories where users may deposit envelopes into the ATM thatcontain currency, checks and/or other items. In accepting envelope deposits ATMs generally have no capability to evaluate the deposited items. The user of the ATM in response to outputs generated from the machine, provides one or more inputs thatindicate the value of the items included in the deposit envelope. This is done through inputs to an ATM keypad, for example. The ATM communicates with at least one remote host computer, at least one message indicating that the ATM user wishes to make adeposit. The remote computer then determines if the transaction information input by the user such as the account number and PIN number is valid, as well as whether the type of account upon which the user is conducting the transaction is one that canaccept deposits. If so the remote computer responds to the ATM with at least one message that causes the ATM to provide access to the entry to an envelope depository so that a deposit envelope from the user may be accepted therein.
If the ATM is able to accept the deposit envelope and provided that the user does not cancel the transaction, the ATM may send one or more messages to the remote computer indicating that it was able to accept the deposit envelope. However, ifthe user provides an input to the ATM indicating that they want to cancel the deposit transaction before the envelope is accepted, or if for some reason the deposit was not accepted in the machine, such as for example the user did not input a depositenvelope within a specified time period, the machine will indicate through one or messages to the remote host computer that the deposit transaction was cancelled. In response to receipt of a message indicating a cancelled transaction, the at least oneremote computer operates so that the attempted deposit transaction has no impact on the ATM user's account.
In such exemplary systems if the deposit envelope is successfully accepted in an ATM, the at least one message from the ATM to the at least one remote computer causes an indication of the deposit in the amount indicated by the user to beassociated in at least one data store with the user's account. Generally in these situations the ATM user's institution or other entity responsible for the user's account will post a provisional credit rather than a permanent credit to the user'saccount. This is because the amount of the deposit and the validity of the deposit items in the envelope cannot be verified at an envelope accepting ATM. Rather the provisional credit will remain until the ATM is serviced and the deposit envelopestherein recovered. The contents of the deposit envelopes are then verified to determine if the total for the contents conforms to the total indicated by the ATM user. In cases where the envelope includes a check, the bank operating the ATM in which theenvelope is deposited may wait for the amount of the check to be collected from the bank on which the check is drawn. Once the check is paid the provisional credit associated with the ATM user's account may change to a permanent credit. Of course insituations where a discrepancy is found between the value of the items included in the envelope as indicated to the ATM by the ATM user, and the actual value of the items, the user will be credited only for the actual value. The bank or otherinstitution may also give notice to the user of the discrepancy so that the user is aware that their account will not be credited for the amount they indicated.
It should be understood that what has been described with regard to ATMs which only accept deposits in envelopes and their operation in conjunction with ATM networks is exemplary of approaches that may be used. Some institutions may takesomewhat different approaches to accepting and processing transactions involving deposit envelopes. However, many of those different approaches may nonetheless enable integration of the approach of using an ATM which can accept currency bills and/orchecks in the manner hereafter described.
In the exemplary embodiment an ATM which includes an imaging device and/or bill validating device can be integrated into an ATM network adapted for use with ATMs that accept deposits in envelopes. This is done by having an ATM that operates inaccordance with its programming, to receive information from a user that identifies the user's account such as data read from a card and/or other data such as a PIN. The ATM operates in accordance with its programming to provide outputs which enable theuser to select transaction types including transactions which include the deposit of currency bills and/or checks.
In response to the ATM user providing at least one input through an input device which indicates that they wish to make a deposit of currency bills and/or checks to the machine, the ATM operates in accordance with its programming to generate andsend at least one message from the ATM to at least one remote computer. This message indicates that the user wishes to make a deposit to their account. This message may include an amount being indicated as the deposit, which amount is generated throughthe programming of the ATM rather than any amount associated with what the user wishes to deposit. Of course this approach is exemplary.
In response to the at least one message from the ATM, the at least one remote computer responds with the appropriate messages as it would to an ATM that is requesting an envelope deposit transaction. These one or more messages in response wouldgenerally indicate that the user's account either can or cannot have a deposit transaction conducted thereon. If the at least one message from the remote computer indicates that the user's account cannot accept the deposit transaction, the at least oneATM will operate in accordance with its programming to provide outputs to the user indicating that the deposit of bills and/or checks that the user wishes to make to the ATM cannot be accepted. The exemplary ATM will then operate in accordance with itsprogramming to either ask the user if they wish to conduct a different type of transaction, and if none is selected to close out the transaction such as by returning the card to the user.
If the at least one message from the remote computer indicates that the user's account can accept the deposit transaction, then the ATM operates in accordance with its programming to accept the deposit of bills and/or checks from the user. Insome embodiments the at least one ATM must operate to cancel the effect of the first transaction so as to void the deposit which was not made by the user, being indicated as having been made to the user's account. This is done in the exemplaryembodiment by the ATM communicating to the at least one remote computer that the deposit transaction reflected in the messages that test whether the user account can receive deposits, has been cancelled. This can be done by sending a cancellationmessage from the ATM similar to that which occurs if the user provides a "cancel" input, or a message of the type the ATM sends to indicate to the remote computer it could not complete the deposit transaction, or in another way which has no impact on theuser's account balance. In the exemplary embodiment this is done by the ATM through operation of its programming and without the need for the user to provide any inputs canceling the transaction.
In the exemplary embodiment the ATM operates in accordance with its programming after the test transaction has been cancelled, to receive bills and/or checks from the user into the machine. These items are evaluated as previously discussed, andthe amounts thereof determined through the operation of the devices included in the ATM. The exemplary ATM further operates as previously discussed to determine the total value associated with the user's deposit. The ATM may also operate in accordancewith its programming to store data which associates each of the deposited items with the user and/or the transaction. Of course in other embodiments, values associated with each of the deposit items may be calculated and sent individually to the remotecomputer or summed or partially summed. Various approaches may be implemented through the programming of the ATM.
In the exemplary embodiment, after the ATM has determined a total value associated with the checks and/or bills to be deposited by the user, the ATM operates in accordance with its programming to again communicate with the at least one remotecomputer. The communication with the at least one remote computer includes at least one message requesting a second deposit transaction indicating a deposit to the user's account in the amount of the total value. The at least one remote computer, whichin the exemplary embodiment is associated with the bank or other institution which has responsibility for the user's account, operates to record in at least one associated database that a deposit in the amount of the total value has been made to theuser's account.
As can be appreciated, in this exemplary embodiment, the deposit transaction may appear identical to the remote computer to a deposit made in an envelope to an automated banking machine. Thus in some embodiments the user's account may not beimmediately credited for the total amount of the deposit and only a provisional credit for the amount of the deposit may be granted instead of a forced posting of the credit, as such a provisional credit would be indicated until the content and value ofan envelope deposit is confirmed. The provisional credit may become a permanent credit upon collection of the amount of the check by the bank owning the ATM, or other automatic or manual input to cause a permanent credit to the account. Of course thisapproach is merely exemplary.
In exemplary embodiments where deposits are made to an ATM in the form of checks and/or currency bills, and the ATM is operated in a system that is configured for ATMs to accept envelope deposits, additional processes may be instituted. Theseprocesses may identify the ATM deposit as other than an envelope deposit and may cause the at least one remote computer to permanently credit the user's account earlier than would otherwise be done in the case of an envelope deposit. These processes mayinclude for example, the programming of the at least one remote computer to have data stored in association therewith which indicates that the particular ATM originating the transaction has devices which evaluate bills and checks. The at least oneremote computer may operate in accordance with its programming, to post credits for such deposits in a permanent fashion earlier based on the identity of the ATM initiating the transaction. In some embodiments the remote computer may credit the user'saccount for bills received earlier than checks which must be paid on by the institution of the maker of the check. Various approaches may be used in alternative embodiments depending on the programming of the at least one remote computer.
In other embodiments the ATM may be operated to send data corresponding to checks and/or bills included in the deposit transaction to one or more remote computers operated by a bank. Upon receipt of this information including the data whichassociates the deposit with a particular ATM transaction, the at least one computer operated by the bank may be notified that the values associated with the deposit items have been verified and a permanent credit for the deposit items made to the ATMuser's account. This may be done for example in response to review of the check images, bill images or other data as sent from the ATM to the remote computer. This image review may be done visually by an operator viewing an electronic image on adisplay or through an automated process. However, in response to verification of the items deposited and their values, the at least one computer may operate to cause the appropriate credit to be posted to the user's account. Of course these approachesare exemplary and other approaches may be used.
Thus the apparatus and methods of the exemplary embodiments achieve at least some of the above stated objectives, eliminate difficulties encountered in the use of prior devices and systems, solve problems and attain the desirable resultsdescribed herein.
In the foregoing description certain terms have been used for brevity, clarity and understanding. However, no unnecessary limitations are to be implied therefrom because such terms are used for descriptive purposes and are intended to be broadlyconstrued. Moreover the descriptions and illustrations given are by way of examples and the invention is not limited to the exact details shown or described.
In the following claims any feature described as a means for performing a function shall be construed as encompassing any means capable of performing the recited function, and not mere equivalents of the particular means described in theforegoing description. The inclusion of an Abstract shall not be deemed to limit the claimed invention to the features described in such
Having described the features, discoveries and principles of the invention, the manner in which it is constructed and operated, and the advantages and useful results attained; the new and useful structures, devices, elements, arrangements, parts,combinations, systems, equipment, operations, methods and relationships are set forth in the appended claims.